‘Another exceptionally busy season’: Record number of campers in 2021 spurs further investment into B.C. parks

'Another exceptionally busy season': Record number of campers in 2021 spurs further investment into B.C. parks
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The B.C. government has announced it will be investing millions of dollars more into provincial parks following a record-breaking season of visitors.

According to the Province, 3.1 million campers stayed in provincial parks during the 2021 season — which included over 260,000 reservations made on Discover Camping — marking the highest volume on record.

Additionally, millions of more people visited provincial parks without camping and the record number of visitors has spurred new investments.

The B.C. government has announced that it is investing $21.5 million over the next three years in order to expand and enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The government says the investment will go towards things like new campsites, trails and upgrades to facilities.

“This year has been another exceptionally busy season for BC Parks with more people than ever seeking the benefits to their health and well-being that nature and open spaces provide,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Caring for and expanding BC Parks is an investment in a healthy future. These new projects provide even more people with the opportunity to explore and experience British Columbia’s spectacular beauty and retain the vitally important connection to nature.”

Two of the parks benefitting from investments are located on Vancouver Island: Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park and Miracle Beach Provincial Park.

At Rathtrevor Beach, the government says the money will be put towards improving the accessibility of the day-use trails in the area.

As for Miracle Beach, the government intends to enhance trails and add a new bicycle flow track. Upgrades to the accessibility of the area will also be included in the newest round of investment at Miracle Beach.

Additional proposed projects to receive a portion of the latest round of funding — not located on Vancouver Island — can be seen below:

  • Cypress Provincial Park: improve facilities within the park, including refurbished trails and better backcountry access
  • Garibaldi Provincial Park: develop the loop trail linking Singing Pass to Blackcomb Mountain
  • Golden Ears Provincial Park: parking lot expansion
  • Stawamus Chief Provincial Park: improve existing trails and develop new trails, provide additional parking
  • Cultus Lake: develop the Watt Creek parking lot to improve access to Teapot Hill Trail
  • Sun-Oka Provincial Park: reconstruct paved trails within the park to improve accessibility
  • Babine Mountains Provincial Park: upgrade and reroute existing trails and build new trails
  • Lakelse Lake Provincial Park: improve accessibility to the Twin Spruce Trail and the Furlong Bay Campground

“We are taking strides to ensure our parks are inclusive and welcome for all,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment. “As well as our plans for more campsites, improved trails and better accessibility, we are working in partnership with First Nations to reflect Indigenous history and culture in our provincial parks and deepen our understanding of connection to the land.”

In addition to the above projects, the government says that $2 million in new infrastructure maintenance funding will be invested in all regions of the province on high-use trail and facility improvement projects.

The Province also notes that BC Parks is investing an additional $5 million per year for land acquisitions.

According to the government, more than 1,500 campsites have been added to provincial parks and recreation sites in high-demand areas over the last four years.


Graham CoxGraham Cox

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